Touch showrunner Tim Kring talks to Tara Bennett about the new web spin-off series, Daybreak , and Touch season 2
Very mild spoilers for the season finale (which aired in the UK on Sky 1 on Tuesday, but just in case you haven’t watched it yet…)
The first season finale of Touch gave fans a huge moment between Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) and his autistic-like son Jake (David Mazouz), but plenty of mysteries yet to be solved when the show returns in the fall. However the show’s mythology will get an extended run this June with the brand new web series, Daybreak .
Touch creator Tim Kring knows a little something about cultivating tech savvy fandoms from his years guiding Heroes , and for this show Kring takes a page from his own playbook creating a snazzy website that gives fans an immersive experience that augments the FOX series. Kring partnered up with ad agency BBDO and AT&T for Daybreak for a new story that features the 12-sided dodecahedron introduced in the last three episodes, impacting new characters.
Ben Wilkens (Ryan Eggold ) is the hero of the piece who must embark on a dangerous journey to find the truth about his missing father. Unlike most web series, this one is slick with Hollywood calibre production values featuring lots of genre familiar faces including Sarah Roemer ( The Event ), Ryan McPartlin ( Chuck ) and James Kyson Lee ( Heroes ). Tim Kring talked to SFX exclusively to explain the new series and what’s to come in Touch ’s sophomore season.
Did Daybreak stem from the series or was it a separate story you wove into Touch ?
This is different in that it didn’t spring completely from Touch . It’s actually a project that started at the ad agency BBDO that had this idea about a dodecahedron. AT&T was already a client of theirs and I had already met the people at AT&T so it seemed like a perfect fit. One of the central ideas of Daybreak centres on this mystical object of a dodecahedron. It fit perfectly into the mythology we started to weave into Touch . By episode ten of the first season we wove in that shape in a curious way and in the season finale, the dodecahedron shape gets played even more mysteriously. I think there will be a real question in the audience’s mind what that shape is all about. By watching Daybreak they’ll learn more about the shape and what its mystical powers are so that’s the only tether between the show and Daybreak . But in the second season of Touch , and what I hope will be a second season of Daybreak , we will see those same storylines begin to converge even more.
Do you have to watch Touch to understand Daybreak or vice versa?
You will not miss anything if you haven’t seen Touch before and if you didn’t watch Daybreak , season two of Touch won’t be affected. If you watch both, you will have a slightly deeper connection to both narratives. We did the same thing on Heroes . We had all this content that lived online and on mobile and we never wanted to alienate the fandom of Heroes who were not seeing that content.
You’ve got a great cast in Daybreak. Any chance we could see any of these characters or actors in Touch season two?
I think that always has been a really fun avenue of what’s called transmedia storytelling. One of the Holy Grails of that is when something migrates from one platform onto the other. For people really are in the know, they have a tremendous experience with that because they feel like they have insider information. I have to tell you I was thrilled with the cast we put together. They are a really attractive and fun cast and it was fun to work with James Kyson Lee and Eugene Bird, who I had worked with before. They are all of the calibre, obviously, to work on Touch .
You run the regular show, so how much are you involved in the production of this series?
Thankfully it dovetailed with the end of production on the first season. We literally started on Daybreak the same week we ended production of Touch . A large number of the crew ended Friday night on Touch and on Monday morning they went to work on this. I did the same thing and dovetailed right out of Touch into this and a lot of the work had been done the previous month in pieces. The script had already been written as I worked with a great writer, Raven Metzner.
With Touch’s first season in the can, what did you learn from year one that you’ll carry into year two?
Obviously the show is a personal statement from me about interconnectivity, and global consciousness with a message of hope connected to it. I am absolutely thrilled with the opportunity and the ability to put that message out into the world on a weekly basis on a big TV show is really exciting. But there are progressions in any series. Where we end up in the season finale is an indication of where we’re going. The show didn’t introduce its serialised engine until about six episodes in, when Danny Glover’s character was killed. By the end of the season, we crank it up pretty high and the finale is all serialised. It’s very much about the story, about who is interested in Jake, how he has to be protected and what Martin is willing to do to protect his son and get him away from these people who might want to harm him. When we pick up in season two that serialised engine is going to be turned up quite a bit. That doesn’t mean we won’t still have a standalone quality of a beginning, middle and end to stories, and the satellite stories can have endings to them each week, but there will be a sense of dread and worry about [Martin and Jake] from week to week.
Will we see more sci-fi aspects push through in the storytelling especially in regards to Jake’s gifts?
It’s interesting you call it sci-fi but there’s clearly something going on and there’s clearly a reason why Jake is the way he is and that people are interested in him for perhaps nefarious reasons. In the finale, that gets turned up and is the launch pad for next season. Anybody who watched the first season had a gentle slope into this and like working out on a treadmill, we turn up the speed and incline next season. [Laughs]
Maria Bello will be a series regular in season two as the mother of Amelia Robbins, another child who shares the same gift as Jake. Does that mean Martin will finally have an advocate?
Yes, we’re populating his world with someone to talk to. It very much becomes about Martin and Lucy Robbins having a very shared…or as I say they might as well be in the smallest private club in the world, because both of them have children that are unique and perhaps in some kind of danger. Kiefer and Maria’s characters join forces very much. In terms of her being a part of the mythology, she becomes a part of the main, driving engine of the show.
New episodes of Daybreak premiere on Thursdays in June.